A smoother, more slender waistline is a common cosmetic goal among individuals who struggle with both excess fat and skin in the abdomen. In many cases, changes in diet and exercise do not provide adequate improvement in the waistline. The Smooth Tuck™ procedure may combine high-volume liposuction with the removal of excess, overhanging skin to give the abdomen a smoother, firmer appearance. When abdominal fat exceeds a particular volume, our plastic surgeon, Mark Pinsky, MD, may advise against an approach like tummy tuck surgery (which involves surgical tightening of the underlying abdominal musculature) in favor of Smooth Tuck™ as a more appropriate method for renewing the appearance of the abdominal area. For many patients, Smooth Tuck™ can also deliver results with less visible scarring, post-operative discomfort, and downtime than traditional tummy tuck procedures.
Candidates for Smooth Tuck™
Ideal candidates for Smooth Tuck™ are those who would like to address excess fat and skin in the abdominal region. Patients who are approximately 20 to 30 pounds overweight and have been declined as candidates for tummy tuck surgery due to excessive abdominal fat are often excellent candidates for the Smooth Tuck™ procedure. Smooth Tuck™ candidates may also be seeking a less invasive option to traditional tummy tuck surgery. As with all surgical procedures that require general anesthesia, candidates for Smooth Tuck™ must be in good general health and be free of any health conditions that could impede proper healing.
Many candidates for Smooth Tuck™ have recently undergone dramatic weight loss resulting from both lifestyle changes and weight loss surgery. Significant weight loss can lead to the development of moderate to severe skin flaps which can be heavy and cumbersome, causing serious dermatological issues and other physical discomfort. In these situations, surgical revision of the abdominal area may be medically necessary and, as such, is referred to as a panniculectomy. Even though Smooth Tuck™ and panniculectomy consist of the same basic surgical techniques and accomplish the same goals, the former is considered a purely cosmetic procedure and the latter a medical necessity. In cases of a medically necessary panniculectomy, this more extensive surgery may be covered by insurance.
The Smooth Tuck™ Procedure
During the Smooth Tuck™ procedure, excess fat from the abdomen and flanks (love handles) may be removed. Once the excess fat is removed to sculpt the torso, excess skin is removed from the lower abdomen using the smallest incision possible. The amount of skin that needs to be removed will ultimately determine the exact size of the incision, but Dr. Pinsky is always careful to keep any resulting scars hidden beneath the waistline and easily concealable under clothing. Finally, when the fat and skin has been removed, Dr. Pinsky will reposition the belly button to a more elevated location through incisions made inside of the navel. Most patients can expect the Smooth Tuck™procedure to last about two hours, but total surgery time may vary depending on the extent of the procedure.
Recovery from Smooth Tuck™
Immediately following surgery, patients can expect some swelling and discomfort; however these post-operative symptoms are often easily managed with the help of prescribed pain medication and by closely following care instructions provided by Dr. Pinsky. During recovery, the abdomen will be wrapped snugly to facilitate healing and drains may be placed to collect excess fluid during the initial stages of the recovery process. After Smooth Tuck™, most patients are able to return to work in seven days and resume all normal activities in about two weeks.
Results of Smooth Tuck™
Patients who have undergone Smooth Tuck™ are generally very pleased with the smoother, more slender waistline they have achieved. Many individuals have reported a boost in their self-esteem and a more positive body image. The significant results of Smooth Tuck™ are typically apparent immediately, and results should continue to improve as healing progresses. The final results of Smooth Tuck™ treatment often appear at about six to twelve months after surgery.
For more information about Smooth Tuck™ or any of the other body contouring procedures that we offer at our practice, please contact Pinsky Plastic Surgery.